My last night in Asnières was no less than wonderful, apart from packing my suitcase and bidding farewell to friends once again.
The evening was centered around Indeed's gig, at "La Maison des Jeunes." As it didn't start until nearly 22h, however, the lead-up was filled with friends, a few drinks and a great atmosphere. I won't say the bands that played before Indeed were awful, but there were a few moments where I'm pretty sure I felt blood trickling out of my ears [joking...sort of].
Guillaume, Merry, Pierre and Florian were phenomenal. Sure, there were a few bumps here and there, but such is expected. The crowd applauded wildly at the end, and Indeed remained on stage for an encore performance, where they played "Fly Away." Though the song is far too overplayed for me to enjoy on a regular basis, there is something about people you love being around that makes everything different. The stage presence that Indeed emanated was absolutely outstanding, and the audience swayed with each measure.
After Indeed was another band [obviously they played very well or they would not have been mentioned] who called themselves Jungle Key. I can't even begin to explain the awe I felt when they started playing. After Indeed left the stage, I was all set to go back to the house and have a few drinks with friends again - I'd seen the boys in the band to come and wasn't impressed. I soon found out that I had judged far too quickly, as they walked on with their instruments - violins and a cello. Being a fellow orchestra geek, I was immediately intrigued. They looked young, but their enthusiasm leapt from their eyes and dragged you closer. The second they started playing, I grinned.
I guess I should explain that. I love music. It's been my biggest passion since I was in the first grade and started playing violin. It makes my whole world turn. Now, when I hear something new, fresh or exceptionally and uniquely awesome, I smile. I smile in appreciation and in celebration of and with people that share the same passion as me. My grin widened as they played on, their talent and stage presence simply indescribable.
Fresh air was in order after the performances worth watching, so we walked a bit before heading to Manuel's house. That is to say, we had to drop off the instruments at Merry's place before heading out. Instead of having a crazy drunken party like the one before, Manuel had a simple, tranquil set up that was full of snacks, drinks and friends. I spent the majority of the night on the balcony with some pretty cool people, and returned to my house in Asnières at 5 a.m. for one last bit of shut eye before my trip to Angers.
Waking up was not an easy task, especially as my sleep had been interrupted upon Merry's return, as well as his early depart for work at a Franprix in Paris. I groggily said goodbye to him as he wandered out my door, and quickly fell back asleep for an hour.
The next thing I knew, I was in the train station at Montparnasse. Thanks again to Merry's parents, I had little trouble finding my way and getting set in the train. As I was walking to the tenth cabin of the train, however, my mood shifted from anxiety, to slight regret that I hadn't gotten a proper goodbye from the "little Reeble." I was no less than surprised to hear a pitter patter of feet and feel a familiar arm grab my waist as Merry walked me the rest of the way to my seat. I was immediately set at ease, and boarded the train with one of the coolest people I know.
An hour and a half later, I arrived in Angers. Not knowing the city, the family I would be staying with [or anything else, for that matter], I was anxious [naturally]. I spotted my host mother right away from the ramp leading into the station, and we walked toward each other. Now that I think back on it, the situation was just like the stereotypical "love at first sight" scenes in movies. We'd never seen each other before that moment, a glance, and then a smile was shared, and we were drawn toward each other. [HARF]
Anyway, I got to the house alright, was immediately overwhelmed with information about bus stops, school, meals, my room, the rest of the house, my host family, and just about anything else you can possibly think of. On the positive side, however, I've only spoken French with them, and Valérie [my host mom], inferred directly after meeting me that I'd been spending time with French friends. [which is my way of saying screw Guillaume and all of the other French kids I know that "love my slight, but adorable American accent"]
I'm all settled in now, and ready to begin my exploration of Angers...tomorrow. I'm completely pooped out by the successes of today. But, tomorrow morning marks the beginning of a very strange, long and exciting journey that I like to call "studying abroad" [how dare any of you for assuming that was a true statement]. I don't actually have a name for it yet, but I'm not too worried about it. My only concern for the moment is trying to figure out the godforsaken bus system.
Angers. Why don't you have a metro. Worst decision ever.
TTFN [ta ta for now]
"Nothing in the world is permanent, and we're foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we're still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it. If Change is of the essence of existence one would have thought it only sensible to make it the premise of our philosophy."
-W. Somerset Maugham